Two Years on, Jailed Lecturer Awaits Appeal

Despite having nearly completed a two-and-a-half year prison sentence for teaching from a self-penned history book containing material highly critical of government officials, jailed college lecturer Tieng Narith has not yet had an appeal against his original sentence heard by the Appeal Court, his lawyer said.

Tieng Narith had by Wednesday served two years, two months and eight days of the sentence handed down to him by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court after he was convicted under the country’s harsh law on spreading so-called “disinformation,” attorney Hong Kimsuon said.

The Appeal Court’s apparent inertia in hearing Tieng Narith’s appeal against his original 2007 conviction had affected his client’s rights, Hong Kimsuon added, though he noted that there is nothing to oblige the Appeal Court to hear cases in a timely manner.

At the reading of his sentence in February 2007, the municipal court also ordered Tieng Narith to pay a $1,250 fine or spend another two years behind bars. Hong Kimsuon said that he was not sure if his client could afford to pay the fine.

Appeal Court Deputy President Chuon Sunleng said Wednesday that his court has only one courtroom and there are “too many cases.”

Chuon Sunleng said that a letter should be sent to him so that he could look into Tieng Narith’s appeal.

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